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A Visit To It’s A Burl

Monday’s I usually share what I have been doing in my studio for the previous week. This week I’m sort of playing hooky from my studio. For some time now I’ve been taking the last week of January off. Rather than go away, this year I’m staying home and having a staycation.

It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon.

I’m walking the streets of Ashland and Medford and Grants Pass, checking out new and old shops for inspiration. I’m eating out at least one meal a day. I’m visiting friends. And, Saturday I went to visit one of my favorite places, It’s A Burl in Kerby, Oregon. It’s located on Highway 99 between Grants Pass and the Oregon coast, near Cave Junction.

The front doors to the Gallery at It’s A Burl.

It’s a Burl is where I get all the burl wood for the bottoms of my Earth Spirit Vessels. It’s a magical place that reminds me of the feeling I had while reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. It’s feels almost like a fantasy with wizards and wood elves.

This burl wood sculpture looks as though it could be from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

There is a Gallery which has incredible carvings by master woodworkers and carvers. There are clocks and bowls and furniture and things only an artist could imagine.

Wouldn’t this burl wood love seat make a spectacular statement in a living room?

Outside there is the yard where you can purchase hunks and slabs of burl wood. There’s a biplane that dangles in midair, an 8 foot wooden rooster and numerous multi story tree houses.

One of the tree houses at It’s A Burl.

Harvey and Joy Shinerock opened It’s A Burl in 1987. Harvey was a woodcarver who started working burls in 1977. Their grandson, Will, is the one who helps me pick just the right burl wood for the bottoms of my vessels. He even slices the slabs for me. My favorite wood is usually maple, but on Saturday I found a beautiful willow burl that I had to purchase.

Here is where I found my latest burl wood purchase.

In addition to the Gallery and the Gardens, there is burl wood that you can purchase. There are buckets full of small pieces of wood, but I just love wandering through the open shed like structures that house slabs and chunks of various types of burl wood. They are organized by wood type.

Daniel ‘s bench will be in the Gallery later this week.

On Saturday’s trip, I watched Daniel as he was finishing his latest creation, a bench. Daniel is a wood carver, but he said that every once in a while he just has to make a piece of furniture. This bench will be finished and in the Gallery later this week.

This bicycle is made out of burl wood. I’m not sure if It really can be ridden.

It’s a Burl is a fun place to visit. It’s easy to get lost wandering through the Gallery, Gardens and The Yard. There’s so much to see.

This wise old owl is in the Gallery at It’s A Burl.

If you would like to see how I make the burl wood into a base for one of my Earth Spirit Vessels, you can check out this Studio Snapshot.

This is a full sized horse made out of burl wood. It’s on the porch outside the Gallery.

Happy staycationing, Candy

DIY Folded Paper Heart Garland

After making a whole bunch of heart ornaments for the front window of the Ashland Art Center (see my last post, Paper Valentine Heart Ornaments), I decided to make some folded heart garlands.

Folded Paper Heart Garland

I started with three colors of paper, a red, a dark pink, and a purple. I also used a variety of beads. Most were #6 seed beads, but I used a few other sizes of beads to go with them. I liked the contrast of the different sizes and shapes of beads.

I used red, dark pink and purple papers along with some beads to make this paper folded heart garland.

I used a text weight paper. I started with an 8.5″ by 11″ paper that I cut into quarters.

Beginning steps to make a folded heart for the garland.

1. Cut an 8.5″ by 11″ piece of text weight paper into quarters.

2. Fold the paper in half horizontally and again vertically. Cut a rounded corner shape like in the photo #2 above. Hint: Make a paper template of your desired shape once you have a shape that you like.

3. Unfold as you can see in photo #3 above.

4. Fold into a fan shape as in photo #4 above.

Next 2 steps in making folded paper heart garland.

5. Poke a needle through the center of the “fan” as shown in #5 above.

6. Cut a piece of string, embroidery floss or thread the length you want  your garland. Put a knot at the bottom and string a few beads on the garland. Then thread the needle through the center of the “fan” hole made in #5. See #6 above.

Hint: Start from the bottom of the garland and go up. The first garland I made I started at the top and went down. The second garland I made was much easier to make because I started at the bottom and went up.

Glue the first heart on the garland.

7. Put glue stick on both sides of the inside of the “fan” to make the first heart. Also at this time glue the thread down too, pulling just a bit to make sure the beads are tight against the back side of the paper.

First heart on the garland. Now continue up the garland.

8. Close the two sides of the paper against the thread. Hold for a little bit to be sure the paper is secure. Now you have your first heart on your garland finished.

Keep adding more folded paper “fans” and more beads to your garland.

Add more beads and hearts until you get your garland the length you want. Then tie a knot to secure the top bead and tie a loop at the end so you can hang the garland.

Folded Paper Heart Garland finished.

I got the inspiration and basic instructions (which I have modified a bit) from Kate’s post on Red Ted Art.

This is a fun project that will add a little pazzaz to your Valentine’s Day decor.

Enjoy, Candy

“Torsten On Bass” Watermedia Painting Series

Challenge

Welcome to Day Four of the 3-paintings-per-day-for-five-day (3-4-5) FB challenge!  Today I'm featuring my "Torsten on Bass" series, and for a blog bonus, I'm adding a fourth piece.  (Thank you Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in the challenge).  

 

Inspiration

The paintings in the series "Torsten on Bass" were inspired by photographs my husband took of some of our musician friends from Germany.  We lived in Germany during the 1990's.  We met and became friend with a local rock and roll band.  They called themselves the "Lunatics United".  I would say they were not "lunatics" but they were a fun, hard rock band.  They had a vocalist, two guitarists, a bassist and drummer.  Torsten played bass.  

Lesson Learned

These paintings were done in 2008.  I learned a lesson during the process of developing the designs that has served me well.  I started by drawing from the photograph.  I became frustrated because the drawing from the photograph did not express what I felt about the band or music.

After a few drawings, I put the photographs away.  I created new drawings from memory, imagination and as a response to how music makes me feel.  Oddly enough, the first "Torsten on Bass" has as much to do with the blues as it does with rock and roll.  I liked the resulting figure and the muted colors.

After successful design number one, I naturally had to do some more.  In designs II (Rock and Roll), III & IV, I thought about going to rock and roll concerts, the heat of the lights, the sound of the music and how it made me feel.  Plus, I took more liberties with the figure.

What did I learn?  By drawing from life or photographs first, I get the feel of the subject.  Then, I let myself loose with memories, imagination and emotion.  I create something that says what I feel about the subject.  Plus, I have a great time.

Exhibiting

I have rarely shown these works, although "Torsten on Bass" was exhibited in a juried show in Springfield, OR.  In looking back at the images, I am pleased with the work.  I wonder why I stopped!  

Two of the pieces are in private collections:  "Torsten on Bass – Rock and Roll" and "Torsten on Bass III".  "Torsten on Bass IV" has never been shown, oddly enough.  I did more drawings, but all of them are in sketchbooks put away in storage.

Its wonderful to be able to pull these paintings out and share them with you.  I hope you enjoy them!  Thanks!

 

The post “Torsten On Bass” Watermedia Painting Series appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Still Life With Toy Pony – Three Watercolors & A Drawing

Toy Pony Series

On day three, its three paintings and a drawing from my "Still Life With Toy Pony" series.  Day three refers to the "three paintings a day for five days" challenge being carried out on Facebook.  Artist and friend Myrna Wacknov invited me to join in on the fun.

I chose "Still Life with Toy Pony" because I have worked on this particular series of paintings since 2009.  It has been a major part of my artistic growth.

The series followed the "KittyKitty" series.  This series is a creativity and design problem.  I borrowed the idea from artist Mike Bailey, who I discovered through Mryna Wacknov's blog.  

Here's the problem. 

Pick three things that are alike and one thing that is different.  Set up a still life.  Develop 20 designs.  Develop 20 more.  If you're really into the problem, draw 40 more.  I think Mr. Bailey is over 100.  

What you learn.  

By doing the same subject 20 times, you force yourself to start being creative.  To use a phrase from Mr. Bailey, you go beyond the obvious.  You start being experimental.  Simplying, stylizing, embellishing, reorganizing: these are the types of approaches that went through my head.  

What I Did.

I picked three "geometric" items hanging around my house.  The espresso cup – because I like espresso.  The candlestick was a wedding gift.  The vase was a little clay thing I picked up in Germany.  They have the "cup" type form in common.  They're variations on a column.  I added one "organic" shaped object – a small toy pony I picked up in San Francisco's China Town when visiting in the late 70's.  Its made of satin.

I started drawing and numbering each as I went.  After a few drawings were done, I enlarged my favorites and started painting.  (The first drawing is included at the bottom of the page).

Eventually, I started looking at design considerations to create variations.  I learned about formats, colors, values, shapes, repetition, lines, patterns.  I did 80 drawings of which 19 are paintings.  I used watercolor primarily, though there are a few mixed water media pieces.  If you'd like to see most of the collection, I invite you to see it on my website Dancing Clouds.

Three Paintings

Today's three paintings were chosen because they each have some personal significance.  I am also including drawing number one so you can see the starting point. 

The green variation is the first painting of the series and was based on drawing number four.  You can easily see the still life objects:  espresso cup, candlestick, vase and toy pony.  There is some stylization.  This paintings was done in 2009.

The next one I chose was design 53.  I painted this one in 2010; it pre-dates the painting of design 39, the third painting (2012).  The still life shapes in design 53 are flattened, but you still get a feeling of three dimensional objects.  With design 39, the objects are flattened and may be hard to recognize.

If you look at the three paintings, you will notice that I shifted from color schemes being dominant to value patterns being dominant.  ("Value" here refers to the relative lightness and darkness of shapes).

I chose the paintings specifically to illustrate the kind of artistic growth one can gain by studying in this manner.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

 

The post Still Life With Toy Pony – Three Watercolors & A Drawing appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Studio Snapshot – Valentine Paper Heart Ornaments

There’s a First Friday Art Walk every First Friday in Ashland. All the galleries are open late and people meander the streets and visit lots of galleries. It’s fun and festive. This past First Friday, in my studio on the 2nd floor of the Ashland Art Center, I demonstrated how to make my paper heart ornaments. An emphasis on reds and pinks I thought would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

One of my paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments for the Ashland Art Center front window.

I wasn’t the only one who liked those paper heart ornaments. The executive director of the Art Center asked me to make a bunch more of them to put in the gallery window for a Valentine display.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments are made from polka dot scrapbook paper.

So, this past week, I’ve been making lots and lots of Valentine paper heart ornaments. DIY directions are on my blog post: DIY Hanging Paper Heart Ornaments.

Paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments for the Ashland Art Center front window.

Paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments.

I watercolored the paper before making this paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornament.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments were made from a paper I have been saving for over 20 years. Time to put the paper to good use.

This paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornament was made from scrapbook paper.

The heart ornament on the right is made from one of my paste papers.

These paper Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments are so fun to make.

Valentine Hanging Heart Ornaments sitting on two papers that will soon be made into more ornaments.

As I said earlier, the instructions are in my blog post: DIY Hanging Paper Heart Ornaments.

Enjoy, Candy

Richard McKinley at Art Du Jour Gallery

Download (PDF, 510KB)

An Afternoon with Richard McKinley

Art du Jour Gallery presents “An Afternoon with Richard McKinley,” nationally and internationally renowned artist/educator, on Saturday, February 28. Born and raised in the Rogue Valley, McKinley is known for his beautiful paintings in oil and pastel, and for the vast amount of artistic knowledge he shares with his students worldwide.

Richard will offer a presentation on his career in contemporary art, including highlights from his forthcoming book on oil painting, as well as from his best selling PASTEL POINTERS.
The afternoon begins at 1:30 PM in the Medford Library ( Adams Room ) with a Power point presentation and a lively question and answer session.

A reception and opportunity to meet the artist follows at 3:30 PM in Art du Jour

Gallery, located at 213 E. Main Street in Medford (2 blocks north of the library).

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students (14-21 yrs.) and can be purchased at the gallery, Tue-Sat 10:00 AM–4:00 PM and Third Fridays 5:00-8:00 PM. Only 40 tickets available.
For more information call Linda Evans at 541 324-1437 or visit Art du Jour Gallery in Medford.

Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings

The Challenge

Lighthouses are my theme for Day Two.  This is part of the art tag challenge on facebook:  Three Paintings a Day for Five Days.  (My thanks to artist Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in this challenge).  

Lighthouses & Childhood

I grew up in a house with lighthouse paintings.  My father had done several paintings of the subject and they lined the walls of our house.  I think some were of lighthouses in Maine and some in Spain.  In any case, I thought they were exotic, fascinating paintings.

My childhood home was in the desert Southwestern United States.  The ocean and lighthouses belonged to a different world and fired my imagination.  I wanted to visit lighthouses and own a painting or two myself.

Since childhood, I've seen and visited several lighthouses in this country and abroad.  

Grays Harbor Lighthouse

There are many along the Washington and Oregon coast, where I live these days.  Also, a friend gave me an ornament of the Grays Harbor (Washington) Lighthouse.  The lighthouse became my model, along with some broken sea shells from the beaches of Grays Harbor.

Naturally, a little Peggy-style Cubism creeps in to my design as does a lot of imagination.  There are more versions.  I think these three have a sense of the storms that visit the Northwest United States Coast.

A word about my naming system, "D" in the title refers to "design", as in "D10" means "Design 10".  Thanks!

The post Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings

The Challenge

Lighthouses are my theme for Day Two.  This is part of the art tag challenge on facebook:  Three Paintings a Day for Five Days.  (My thanks to artist Myrna Wacknov for inviting me to participate in this challenge).  

Lighthouses & Childhood

I grew up in a house with lighthouse paintings.  My father had done several paintings of the subject and they lined the walls of our house.  I think some were of lighthouses in Maine and some in Spain.  In any case, I thought they were exotic, fascinating paintings.

My childhood home was in the desert Southwestern United States.  The ocean and lighthouses belonged to a different world and fired my imagination.  I wanted to visit lighthouses and own a painting or two myself.

Since childhood, I've seen and visited several lighthouses in this country and abroad.  

Grays Harbor Lighthouse

There are many along the Washington and Oregon coast, where I live these days.  Also, a friend gave me an ornament of the Grays Harbor (Washington) Lighthouse.  The lighthouse became my model, along with some broken sea shells from the beaches of Grays Harbor.

Naturally, a little Peggy-style Cubism creeps in to my design as does a lot of imagination.  There are more versions.  I think these three have a sense of the storms that visit the Northwest United States Coast.

A word about my naming system, "D" in the title refers to "design", as in "D10" means "Design 10".  Thanks!

The post Three Lighthouses – Watercolor Paintings appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

Three Cats

Cats are one of my favorite subjects. I think it most appropriate that I start of my "FB Art Challenge" with some kitties.

I was tagged to do the challenge by artist and friend Myrna Wacknov.  The challenge is to post three paintings per day for five days.  I get to tag other artists each day.

I think it will be fun curating a micro show every day, going through my various collections.

Today's watercolor paintings are from my "kittykitty" series which features a cat.  The cat was my Aunt Mary's cat.  She was a quiet, elegant being who liked to lie around with an air of deep knowledge.  Or, perhaps she was just a cat staring out into space.

 

"Kitty Kit…" my new painting is unusual in that I added text.  I wanted to imply that the cat is being called by someone off painting.  The cat is sitting on a pillow, comfortable and will move if and when she desires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "KittyKitty" painting series has done well for me.  Both "Groovy Kitty" and "Seriously KittyKitty" have been accepted into juried exhibitions.   Just as important, the series became a good vehicle to study design and style.

I have done at least 30 paintings or watercolor studies.  They're fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More soon!

 

The post Three Cats appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox – Watercolor Artist.

DIY – Making an Inexpensive Light Box

I have received numerous compliments over the years on the quality of the photos on my blog. I now have purchased a professional light tent, but I started out by making an inexpensive light box out of a cardboard box and tracing paper. I used it for about 3 years, and loved it. The only reason I bought my light tent was for space reasons. The light tent could be folded up and put in a drawer. My light box took up more space, but my old light box took just as good photos as my new light tent.

This photo was taken in the light box that is featured in this blog.

Last week I had an apprentice, Inka, from Telemark University College in Norway. She is studying Folk Art and wanted to apprentice with me for a week as part of her degree program. The first thing I did was to show her how to make an inexpensive light box.

Photo taken with the light box that is featured in this blog post.

Materials:

• cardboard box big enough to fit the object(s) you wish to photograph (plus a few extra inches)
• white paper (butcher paper will work well)
• tracing paper or transparent vellum large enough to cover 3 sides of your box (top and two sides)
• box cutter or craft knife
• glue or craft paste
• tape (for reinforcing a used box, if necessary)
• brush for spreading glue or paste (optional)
• digital camera
• lights (daylight bulbs work well)

Light box made from a cardboard box, white paper and tracing paper.

How to make a light box:

1. If you are using a used box, reinforce any weak points with tape before you begin.

2. Leaving 1″ to 1.5″ margins, cut out a “window” in the top and on two sides of the cardboard box with the box cutter. See photo below.

Three “windows” have been cut out of the 2 sides and the top of the box.

3. Paste white paper on the inside of the box where you didn’t cut out. This includes the inside of the four flaps. A paintbrush can make the job go faster. The white on the inside of the box will help to reflect light within the box, and create better photographs for your art.

Pasting white paper on the inside surfaces of the light box.

4. Cut out the tracing paper or vellum and glue it on the inside of the “window holes”. This will allow light to enter the box from outside lamps, but will diffuse the light.

5. Voila! Your light box is finished. You are now ready to set up your light box for use.

Light box set up. Notice the piece of paper the paper fortune cookie is sitting on.

How to use the light box:

1. Place a piece of white paper paper that is larger than the item being photographed. Place it in the box with a bend upwards to the top of the box, creating a nice backdrop. Avoid folding the paper. See photo set up above.

2. Place your art object in to the light box on the piece of paper.

3. Set up 3 lights, one from above, and one from each of the two sides. These lights should shine in through the “windows”. Play around with positioning them and your art, moving the light forward or backward to create different shadows and light effects.

4. Photograph.

Here is the photo taken with the light box in the photo shown above.

Photo taken in the light box in this post.

Photo taken in the light box featured in this blog post.

In last Thursday’s blog post I wrote about my apprentice for the week, Inka. The art showcased in this blog post was made by Inka last week. The photos were taken in the light box that Inka made.

All the photos in this blog post were taken with an iPod touch.

Enjoy, Candy